Economic Education: Interaction of Economics, Financial Literacy, and Mathematics

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 12:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Hyatt Regency Chicago, Randolph 1
Hosted By: National Association of Economic Educators
  • Chair: Carlos Asarta, University of Delaware

At What Age Should High School Students Take Their Capstone Personal Finance Course?

Andrew T. Hill
,
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Carlos Asarta
,
University of Delaware

Abstract

Increasingly, high schools in the United States are offering capstone personal finance courses to their students. In some states, students are required to take a personal finance course before graduation. This paper examines data from the Keys to Financial Success program in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to determine whether the timing of a personal finance capstone course across a typical student’s four year high school experience affects their personal finance knowledge. Using the Financial Fitness for Life High School Test (FFFL-HS Test), pre- and posttest results are reported for students who participated in one-semester Keys courses during the 2014–2015 and 2015‒2016 academic years. The results indicate that while younger high school students begin their Keys courses with less personal finance knowledge than their older counterparts, between the pretest and the posttest, the younger students increase their personal finance knowledge by more than their older counterparts. At the posttest level, younger Keys students exhibit scores that are statistically the same as their older counterparts. This finding is important for school officials aiming to position personal finance capstone courses in tight high school schedules.

Financial Literacy and Education in the First Semester of College: What Do Students Know and Learn?

Elizabeth Breitbach
,
University of South Carolina
Jamie Wagner
,
University of Nebraska-Omaha
William B. Walstad
,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Abstract

This study analyzes pretest and posttest financial literacy data to identify four types of learning—retained, positive, negative, and zero. The purpose of the analysis is to offer more insights into what students already know at the start of a course and the change in learning that occurs by the end of a course. Freshmen students who show high levels of retained learning came into the university with more existing financial knowledge while those who with high positive learning did not know the content initially, but show learning gains during the semester. The data for this study comes from more than 1,000 first semester freshman at the University of South Carolina who were enrolled in an introduction to the University course (UNIV 101). A financial literacy test was constructed and administered to students at the beginning of the semester and again at the end of the semester with 332 students having both the pre- and post-test. Approximately twenty percent of the students received one class period of formal training in a financial education program in their university 101 course. The other students did not receive such training. A regression model is specified and estimated with different learning outcomes (e.g., posttest, pretest, difference scores, positive learning, and retained learning) to estimate the treatment effects while controlling for demographic and background variables (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, past financial education, and other financial variables). The results show what type of learning that occurs during the first semester for incoming students who received financial literacy training and those who did not. The results identify those financial literacy topics students already know and retain during a semester and those financial literacy topics that appear to be new and for which there is positive learning.

Exploring Interdependence between Mathematical Ability, Economics and Financial Literacy

Abdullah Al-Bahrani
,
Northern Kentucky University
Whitney Douglas-Buser
,
Young Harris College
Kim Holder
,
University of West Georgia
Darshak Patel
,
University of Kentucky

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between our students’ mastery of math, their success in economics, and their level of financial literacy. Our study examines whether high school level economics curriculum increases a student’s understanding of personal finance concepts as well as whether or not their level of math aptitude is associated with financial literacy. In most states, personal finance education is taught to students as part of the high school economics curriculum. We examine whether this high school level economics curriculum increases a student’s understanding of personal finance concepts, and whether their math aptitude is associated with financial literacy. Additionally, we test whether financial literacy increases as the number of college level economics courses completed increases. Our data is collected from four different institutions in two states, ranging in size from liberal arts colleges to public state institutions.

Economics Across the Curriculum: Effective Delivery of Economics Instruction to High School Students

Natalia V. Smirnova
,
American Institute for Economic Research

Abstract

The Economics-Across- the-Curriculum approach encourages the integration of economic concepts into

various disciplines. This helps teachers and students to experience the beauty of interdisciplinary

connections among topics and to engage in intellectual inquiry beyond the impermeable walls of a

single-subject area.

The paper contributes to the literature on economic education by describing the results of a multi-day

program of the American Institute for Economic Research that uses the Economics- Across-the-

Curriculum approach. The program appeals not only to economics teachers but also to teachers of

English Language Arts, social studies, math, and foreign languages. The participants’ diversity generates

a cross-pollination of ideas, dynamism, and an interdisciplinary approach to teaching.

The integration of economic concepts into various subjects helps students develop critical thinking,

informational text analysis, real-world application, and other skills that are transferable to various fields

of study, academia, and the workplace.

The analysis of teachers’ and students’ qualitative evaluations of the field-tested lessons developed

through the program presents the evidence of the positive outcomes of the Economics-Across- the-

Curriculum approach.
Discussant(s)
Jamie Wagner
,
University of Nebraska-Omaha
Kim Holder
,
University of West Georgia
Carlos Asarta
,
University of Delaware
JEL Classifications
  • A2 - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
  • D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics